A Haven for Vee

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stuff and Things

Apparently, this is going to be a rainy week. We had rain Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, a delightful reprieve Wednesday, and today and tomorrow will be rainy. It's all good, though, because we've been much in need of comfort and what's more comforting than cooking and enjoying quiet reading time when it's chilly and wet outside?
You may remember the *Winter Squash Soup* recipe that I provided a few posts ago. I made it Tuesday and we all enjoyed it. Mother did suggest that the spices be cut back because she enjoys squash so well that she would've been happier to have really tasted the squash. Surprisingly, even I liked it. You know how I hate vegetables!
We are still scrambling. We're off visiting nursing homes as you read this. Still we have been granted a reprieve for a few days. Phew! I do hope that somehow they'll be able to keep Nan. I want her to stay where she's happy and where the staff has worked out most of the issues and they know her so well.

In the evenings, my mother and I work on getting her (my mother's) new home away from home together. A lot of work ahead, but it'll be nice once everything is settled.

So we're busy and I find myself missing you. I run through and usually stay just long enough to read. I'll be back... this is not a warning. (Mother thinks I've been quite hard on some of these nursing homes. Really? Where does she get these ideas?)

(Thank you for all the nice comments on yesterday's post. It was a lot of fun for me and my mom. Yes, one does use flour. Yes, we did do a hot water bath. Wow! Do all of you really peel toward yourselves? I should do a survey...)

HaVe A gReaT ThURsdAy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lady Ashburnham and Her Fans

Mom is so cute that I couldn't choose just one

The story of Lady Ashburnham pickles is a New Brunswick one. You see Lady Ashburnham was from Fredericton, New Brunswick.  She fell in love with a British Lord. You can read that story *here* if you enjoy such things. We did.

This sort of pickle making was a weekend project. One can not possibly make Lady Ashburnham's in a day. I've been "after" my mother for a while to make them and last weekend was the time. My mother has made these nearly every summer/fall since I can remember.

Last autumn, you may remember, my mother was critically ill and not expected to live. I was standing in her basement looking at the neat row of Lady Ashburnham's on her pantry shelf when I began to cry. Somehow, as silly as it may seem, Lady Ashburnham's had become symbolic of all that my sister and I, our children, and my grandchildren were about to lose.

The good news is that the Lord intervened and we have Mother. Life is not all lollipops and rainbows for my mother by any stretch, but she is still with us and we are so very grateful.

Okay, enough of the background story as this is about Lady Ashburnham's and Mother is very serious about Lady Ashburnham's. She was quite shocked to discover that I thought it was all about taking pictures for my blog and even suggested that I didn't want to learn about this pickle making at all. Silly girl!

Day One:

1. The right color...a yellow cucumber indicates that it is ripe and a partially yellow cucumber is fine

2. The right size...large is excellent; otherwise, two for one if the cucumbers are small (some fine year, we'll work on quart measurements)

3. Sigh...just look at this improper peeling method! Try as I might, I can not get Mother to change her methods. She's always peeled toward herself and very cheekily says, "I haven't lost a finger yet."

4. Scoop the cucumber down to the solid flesh (its not yours). John had this fun job.

5. Slice into strips

6. Cut the strips into bite-sized chunks

7. A nice bowl full of both cucumbers and onions (I had the nasty job of chopping two quarts of onions.)

8. Adding the salt

9. Stirring well

Day Two:

1. Rinse salt from cucumber/onion mixture thoroughly

2. Add cider vinegar

3. Add the sugar

4. Powdered spices go into the sauce; celery seed and mustard seed are cooked with the cucumbers and onions

5. Sauce

6. You can see the celery seed and mustard seed with the cucumbers/onions

7. Sauce is added to the partially cooked cucumber/onion mixture after the sauce is partially thickened and continues simmering...

8. for an hour without reaching a boil

9. Labels ready

The final product. These pickles are a wonderful complement to casseroles, baked beans, hot dogs and hamburgers, and some people even make tartar sauce with them. 

Mother would like to add that we used an assortment of saved jars that were sterilized (she used a microwave method for the jars while boiling the lids in water on the stove.) The filled jars were given a hot water bath in the canning kettle. She thinks most people would prefer using regular canning jars. We would, too, but we're cheap frugal.

You will note that my mom went off script for this recipe, but then she's a pip the expert!

*Printable Recipe for Lady Ashburnham's*

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


That's what's going on around here these days — a whole lot of scrambling.

My grandmother's time as a "skilled" resident of the nursing home has come to an end. She is growing progressively weaker, which is what it is, but she needs permanent care in a facility. Her current home has no room for long-term residents so she is being released this week. I was taken by surprise by this release date as I had been told that if she grew worse she would be able to stay. Though she's grown much worse, last week I was told to find a home or to bring her home. If I don't find a home for her, they can legally remove her to one of their choosing. Sadly, this would probably be the only home in the area with room. It's a pit earning only two stars on their July 2010 inspection.

So we have been out visiting homes. What a sad and story state of affairs in nursing homes. Some are squalid hell holes like the one we visited yesterday where they lacked for everything except nursing staff. Trouble was they were all at the nursing station having a kaffeeklatsch the entire time we were there. I watched them like a hawk to see if they answered any of the bells that were ringing. No. They did not.

Since we are now in the sad position of placing Nan 50 miles away from home, we are zeroing in on homes with five-star ratings — the very highest. We must have peace of mind in knowing that she will be well cared for since we are not going to be able to visit nearly as often as we have been. It will not be financially possible nor physically possible.

So I'm requesting prayer. I truly feel as if I could have a meltdown and I'm concerned for my mother, too. Thanks so much!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colors of Early Autumn~Mosaic Monday

Image will enlarge

How wonderful are the colors of autumn. All these photos were taken in my own yard with the exception of the orange pumpkin of another sort. (Edited to Add: OOPS! The top center photo is a corner of the library below.) When I saw that orange Chevy, I had to take its photo!

The photo below was taken at a small library in a neighboring community — that's my hubby coming out the door. The trees around it show the level of color that we are seeing now so we have awhile longer before we see peak color. How long before you'll be seeing peak color?

Mary, thank you for all that you do to make *Mosaic Monday* happen. It's become the highlight of my week! You can visit Mary at Little Red House where you'll be treated to her wonderful photography any time.

A Smoldering Wick

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice...

Isaiah 42:3

Such good news for anyone who, like me, may be feeling bruised and/or smoldering. God loves us and what we may be sensing as a scolding, in the middle of trying circumstances, may only be the way He chooses to fan up our flame once again.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting Ready

We're getting ready for our houseguest who plans to be teaching me a thing or two about pickling.

Since things are pretty much up in the air now with both real life and blogging life (oh the hoops I had to jump through this morning just to post...arghhhh), it is uncertain when I'll be back. Just consider me in a pickle. ;>

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Apple Ridge Day

Though we had more important things to do, my mother, sister, and I stopped in at Apple Ridge where we found all kinds of mums, pumpkins, squash, apples, and cider. Did we buy any of those? No. Donuts. We just wanted some donuts hot from the deep fat fryer. Hmmmmmm...

But, in honor of the blue hubbard squash and the butternut squash or even the pumpkin, I'm offering a Winter Squash Soup recipe from Mountain Harvest Organic. It looks pretty healthful with the ricotta cheese instead of heavy cream. See, I really am good.

How's the first full day of autumn going so far?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pumpkins Fake and Otherwise, Et Cetera

Some people win beautiful prizes here in Blogdom. Why I myself have just won Vicki Haninger's new book mentioned in Mosaic Monday's post and a $50 dollar gift card from Penny at The Comforts of Home. Poor Pat! She recently won a prize here at Haven and all she's getting is this little needle book.  Yes, well, that's the way things roll here lately. :D I usually don't share what I'm sending off, but Pat, as you probably know, does a blog all about the delights of NYC and the places she visits. She's currently doing a series on *her trip to wine country in California.* She takes the best photos and you can't go wrong to visit and enjoy them! And the point is that she doesn't do the kind of blog that I do where I share the very simple things like needle books. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy seeing what became of the little blue bird, a pattern from Vicki's book, also featured in Mosaic Monday's post.

On to pumpkins. I love them, orange or otherwise. This white pumpkin was purchased over the weekend for nearly five dollars (.39 a pound).

It's so pretty, but real pumpkins never do well for very long in the house.

Fake ten-cent pumpkins just go on forever, but this was one of those hideous orange numbers. So I decided to spray paint it with one of my leftover cans of paint...khaki, I believe, and then being too lazy by a lot to paint polka dots or *do this,* I just stuck some pins in it.


Of course, there's no comparison to the real thing, but it will be far away from the real thing right here... Can you see it in all that jumble?

This picture is not about the pumpkin...oh I kinda like the sunflowers popping out of the center...hmmm...this pic is about the different piece of furniture behind the sofa. Since I have so many bureaus, I should be putting them to better use than storing them in the garage so now I have six drawers for linen storage. The farm table that had been here is out in the garage because my brain wasn't fully in gear and I didn't realize that I really wanted the farm table in the kitchen. Nan's table is going directly up to my sewing room. All this when John and I have recovered from the weekend's furniture hauling detail.

And just because this is the first day of autumn the day autumn will arrive, I am sharing the first blush in the backyard. Have a wonderful fall, ya'll!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

♪Fly Me to the Moon♪

Now there's an old song that I really don't want to become anyone's earworm. :D

Sooo did you see Jupiter and the Moon last night? Jupiter was to the left side of the moon and lower in the sky. I watched them move along in tandem for a while and when the moon was on one side of the garage roof peak and Jupiter on the other, I decided to grab the camera.  Now somewhere you'll see a wonderful photo of this pairing, but it won't be here.

Photo will enlarge

Still, I was so impressed with myself that I had to share. Now a few other pics taken over the weekend...

No Jupiter a few days ago...

when we were the last ice cream customers of the day...

and I kept handing off my cone to John so I could take pictures of impatiens and petunias and

sunflowers and the sunset. (As you may remember we don't see sunsets down in our hollow.)

The sunset grew lovelier and lovelier until it became

this...gosh, I hate wires. (Someday, I hope that all wires will be underground as I'm told they are in Manitoba, Canada.)

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Embroidery~Mosaic Monday

Image will enlarge

I love embroidery, do you? Recently, I won this book: Embroidery Craft: Stitching through the Seasons by Vicki Haninger. Vicki has a wonderful blog called Turkey Feathers. I've been enjoying my visits there for over three years now. Not only does Vicki sell embroidery patterns, she is very generous with free images for embroidery as you can see by her current offering of state flowers for a state flower quilt. *Here* is her page for New York's state flower—the rose. Have fun looking around!

Embroidery Craft... is a delightful book filled with darling images. Below is a numbered mosaic if you're interested in knowing the particulars of this mosaic. 

1. The book! (Glossy and a bit hard to photograph.) 2. The iron on patterns using patterns from the book. 3. My sweet note from Vicki hoping that I'll find hours of fun. 4. Yes, I've already started on the fun with this little blue bird. 5. A tea towel made from a pattern I purchased from Pattern Bee (Vicki's Online Embroidery Shop) a few years ago. 6. A tea towel close-up.
Thank you so very much, Vicki! I will be enjoying this book for years to come!

And, as always, big thanks to Mary at Little Red House for hosting Mosaic Monday!

Peter Marshall

Ever get the sense that God is telling you something and quite directly? After a day of cleaning the garage and hauling things up and down, in and out, John and I wanted to relax and watch a movie in the evening. We wound up at the library looking for movies having exhausted our own supply. We selected three: Black Beauty, Aviator, and A Man Called Peter based on the book of the same title by Catherine Marshall (author of many books including Christy).

When it came time to decide, John said that he really wanted to see A Man Called Peter. It's a "vintage" film made in 1955. A Man Called Peter is the story of a Scottish immigrant who became a preacher and served as chaplain to the United States Senate for two terms in the 1940s. It didn't take long for us to realize that a lot of what we were watching was applicable for today. When Dr. Marshall exhorted the Senate, we got the sense that we, too, were being exhorted.

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.
~Peter Marshall

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right. ~Peter Marshall

A different world cannot be built by indifferent people. ~Peter Marshall

Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for - because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything. ~ Peter Marshall

We finished watching the movie sniffling because, well, I won't spoil it for those of you who may never have seen this old film, but might like to. As is my habit, I began a little Google search with John at my shoulder checking on Peter John Marshall (Peter and Catherine's son) to see if we might learn of speaking engagements, etc. What we found was the most unexpected announcement. Peter John Marshall passed away on September 8, 2010. Source

It was almost surreal for us. Having just watched the story of his father and then learning of his own death. We were blessed to have met Peter J. Marshall and we're proud to own his books and to have studied them and taught from them. We were impressed all over again with how God uses generations of a family.

Leaving you with a quote from the son, echoes of his dad all around...
Is there hope for America? Yes! Turning things around doesn't require every citizen's response. God promised Abraham long ago that He would spare Sodom on behalf of ten righteous people, a tiny remnant. But our national healing will not automatically happen just because we pray for it. If we American Christians truly respond to God's call, we may yet see the nation-wide revival that will restore America. But the hour is late, and we must respond quickly.  ~Peter John Marshall

(Emphasis my own.)

Comments are off

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And Sometimes this Blogger Answers Questions

Two questions come to mind from comments this week. There are probably more. I'm not so good with the answering of questions actually... Oh, sure, sometimes I answer questions in comments, but not on a consistent basis.

*Sue* asked what this flower, featured in my most recent mosaic, is. I didn't know, but yesterday afternoon John and I went sleuthing. It's a Sweet Autumn Clematis. It has a wonderful fragrance evocative of vanilla. (John thought lilac, but he needs a new nose.) It blooms in late summer and early autumn, can be invasive, and does well on pergolas and fences. It creates a wonderful snowy (showy, too) appearance like this...

And *Aunt Amelia* asked me how I dust all that stuff in the living room. I usually dust every single day. Are you shocked? It takes me about five minutes for the entire first floor and I don't think that too much dust can be found here. (Unless you're looking in the sewing machine.) I use a marvelous tool that I lve and am never giving up. I bought it *here.* I've never regretted it and I've had it for six or more years. The end. (Well, not quite the end, this is not a paid advertisement.)

Gee, I'm on a roll with two responses under my belt...have any questions you want answered? :D

Have a terrific weekend, my friend!

Edited to Add: John thought you needed to see my duster. It has a sixteen-inch handle that helps me get to those high places. The feathers extend fifteen inches and are so soft and flexible that I never worry about breaking anything, even the most delicate objects. Hmmm, wonder if I could sell cars for a living.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pat's Story, Et Cetera

Did Pat's story send a collective chill up our spines? It sure sent a chill up mine and sent me scurrying to export my blog where I have it saved on my computer, minus the pictures, of course, and all the extras. Phew! I hate to think that this kind of thing can happen to any of us! I do wish Pat of Back Porch Musings all the best at her new home. Blogdom would not be the same without her!

I spent my Thursday in quiet pursuits. I have three projects going for three different blogging buddies and so I need to be cracking. At some point, I decided that yesterday would be a great day to clean the sewing machine and oil it. What a fright! I'm quite certain that this has not been done in a very, very long time. My biggest problem is that I am not mechanically inclined whatsoever so to think that I took the machine all apart and managed to get it all back together amazes me. Not that I put it back together correctly the first time. Nor the second. Dare I say that it was still not together the third and that, in addition, it was spitting oil on my new project? Ai yi yi.

Seems as if my mother is going to be visiting for a few days between her former home and her new home. I'll need to clean a bit and spruce things up a bit for her. She sure deserves to have things nice. This is only the third time that she has spent any overnights with me since I was first married in the 70s. She spent a week with me in Arizona in 1977 and she spent a night with us after that dreaded GPS adventure, and now she'll spend a few in between days. I think it will be fun. That's the joy of having family who live away — you get to spend more time with them when they do visit.

Off to get some of that sprucing done... What are you going to be doing today?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Garden in Late Summer/Early Autumn

A little change of pace as I've been so wordy lately. Some pretty pictures for you of our local garden, Mc*Laughlin Garden.

That last photo of leaves with copper edges is my favorite tree. It's called a tri-colored beech and through the summer it has pink edges until the pinks turn to copper in autumn.

Isn't it lovely?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sessions Clock or For the Birds

Good thing that the clock comes with directions. Well, some directions. It doesn't say a thing about oiling it so we've been watching You Tube videos about how to oil antique clocks.

John took a good look at the clock and noticed a few things right away. First, someone has been fiddleflipping with it causing a number of problems. Namely, the face no longer sits fair on its pins causing quite a bit of drag as the mechanisms chafe against the housings.  What the entire family thought was some weather gizmo attached to the front is actually the oil applicator. We won't be using the oil in the applicator because it's dirty. There's an old bottle of clock oil from 1937 inside the clock and I'm pretty sure that we'll not be using that either. For now, the clock sits on the shelf above the tv. I think that this really helps to disguise the television much better than the oil lamps, which I showed you earlier in the month.
 A little closer view and, since we're counting birds and nests today, you can see that we've added another in this gold crane painted on the inside of the glass door. Do you see the oil applicator on the left? The measure stick beside it is for determining the swing of the pendulum and there is a thermometer on the right side, broken after all these years.

Okay, let's be off to count the birds. Though I wanted to place them in a mosaic, PhotoScape crops the photo and some of my birds hit the cutting room floor. I can't have that!

See how beautifully the Sessions clock disguises the big tv? Right? Right?!

(Blast! What's that stool doing there?)

1. gold crane on Sessions clock door
2. clear glass swan on window ledge...kinda hard to see
3. & 4. swan salt and pepper shakers declaring everlasting love
6. log cabin birdhouse formerly on coat hook, but John has put the coat hook back to its original purpose
7. giant green swan basket filled with all manner of stuff: remotes, cloth ball, devotionals, pens, pencils, sudoku books...

Did you notice that I even decorated John's radio? I can't move it. He loves it there for the perfect reception and right by his spot on the sofa. Sometimes a gal's just gotta do it his way.

Now for the east side of the room...

8. a swan
9.–20. bird images from The Feathered Nest and using Dawn's idea (I've talked about this several times over the past year.)
21. little black bird in upper window, a gift from Robin (Gosh, even my friends are birds.)
22. an owl from my daughter
23. little yellow bird
24. nest

There's more...

25. Can't forget my white bird from Kari
26. Or the bird on the tag discussed yesterday

And even though these birds are in the open living area, they don't count because they're not on the south side of the sofa. Do not question my logic! :D

Leaving you with Karen's image and a neat scripture...

Pat at Mille Fiori Favoriti is the gal who wins the surprise gift for participating in my little game. Though she came in a little low with a guess of a dozen, she wins by virtue of being the only gal to play. Congrats, Pat, and I have your addy already. Look for it by next week.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Blogger Takes Tips

This is the tag that I made for my altered sewing machine drawer. (The one I've been showing over the past two weeks.) It proved to be too much and so, not wanting to waste my efforts, I tossed it on the knob of the medicine chest cabinet by the door where we keep all of our keys...more on this at the end.

As you can see, I am still having trouble with the dreaded Distress Ink. I coffee stained the tag itself, but it's not as deep a hue as I wanted. I used old tissue paper under the scripture verse (Matthew 6:26). Thank you, Cheryl! I visited Quill Cottage and found enough inspiration to create a little nest out of scraps. I wanted blue eggs, but without any, used pearls on blue sequins for a bit of color. (There's no way that I was going to paint pistachio nuts the way Miss Sandy does. :} ) I had some oak leaf and acorn stamps and I used the bird pattern from the gift that my Aunt Ess gave me. The fringe along the bottom is a bit of scrap that I would've ordinarily tossed. Still a rank amateur, but thought that I'd document my progress, if I progress. ;> (Hope that that last sentence doesn't make you stumble.)

When my readers comment, I listen! Thanks to Dawn for suggesting the twig and acorns...I ran right out to the yard and found acorn caps still on the twig. That worked. Thanks to Life in Red Shoes for suggesting a nest and some eggs. (I have lots of found nests around here and this one was already being displayed. Blessed me, John had brought me yet another nest this summer and all I had to do was find it. John's nest was much too big so it went where this one had been and all was resolved.) The eggs added some much-needed color as before the interior was so dark that everything went  away. (I can see that the color is distorted in this photo because the two blue eggs on the bottom are showing up as off-white or gray.)

I used my own sheet music (The Swan's Song) with *this image* from Graphics Fairy printed on it. Then, because of a gap at the top, I used a bird image from A Scrapbook of Inspiration found on the post I've sent you to. I added the word "Soar."  A bit of lace sewed, using my machine, right onto the paper and that was that. I wrapped a piece of poster board with the paper instead of adhering it to the back (bottom) of the drawer because I don't trust myself and I'm afraid that I won't like it forever. Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions, which you can find in comments on the post titled Waiting for Morning Light. I have them filed away for future reference. A good suggestion is worth so very much!

I really like the pediment of oak leaves and acorns on the top. You may remember that this is an old drawer pull. It also reminds me of spread wings. The little bird that John gave me is a natural for the top as he sits on his own acorn and also adds a little bit more color.

Oh, Linds! I took your tip, too.
Now for the medicine chest news... I've been telling Dawn at The Feathered Nest that she has already painted her entire new home while I fiddleflipped around with one little medicine chest. And that is not gross exaggeration either. I'm slower than cold molasses running uphill in January. A quick before and after...

I really like how John added that extra strip of molding beneath the hook row to protect the paint from the keys. This color is not reading true either, it's a pale blue and, while we're discussing color, my dining room ceiling isn't green either!

Tomorrow, I'm going to talk more about birds/nests because I've inherited (just for a season) an old family heirloom—a Sessions mantel clock and I'd like to share it with you. Then we're going to count the birds/nests. You already know about four. Any guesses how many I have displayed? (You do know how much I love guessing games, right? *hint* *hint* *hint*)

Edited to Add: 9/15/2010
Because this was a contest, (oh I know how vague I am even with the *hint* *hint* *hint*), comments are now closed. Thank you for each and every one!